Sunday, September 14, 2008

Intuiting God

A lot of theists will throw the phrase “intuitive knowledge” around and say things like, “I’ve got the self-authenticating testimony of the Holy Spirit,” and “direct knowledge of God’s existence and will through prayer,” and the like. The idea seems to be that in this special case, it is possible to circumvent all the ordinary channels whereby one would gain knowledge and have some sort of direct, non-mediated, authentic experience of God. So having the experience itself and perhaps checking with yourself that it was authentic is all that one needs in order to know God. This intuitive knowledge is a sort of red-phone-no-switch-board line straight to heaven.

None of use should be tolerating this sort of conversational sleight-of-hand. There’s a bit of conceptual gerrymandering going on here that should have been cleared up if these believers had exercised some restraint before galloping off to the premature conclusion about God.

We’ve been very clear about some basics concerning knowledge for 2,500 (since Socrates). At a mininum, in order to have knowledge, one must have a justified, true belief. What the red-phone theist may have is belief, although some doubts are cast on that because we have a number of good reasons to doubt that a person is a reliable judge of what they believe, and there is so much enthusiastic belief in belief out there muddling the issue. But beyond belief, it remains a very open question whether or not there is justification, and whether or not the belief is true. One hasn’t earned the epistemic right to declare it knowledge simply in virtue of its feeling really, really true, or by simply checking with one’s own thoughts. Justification takes far more than that. In ordinary cases, it takes empirical confirmation, cross-checking with others, substantial background knowledge, corroboration, and repeatability. Merely having a very strong feeling, and then confirming to oneself that yes indeed it is a very strong feeling that seems authentic is never enough. I won’t trot out the long list of examples of powerful intuitions again that illustrates the point. But consider this problem. We know that people have powerful, intuitions, hallucinations, hunches, gut instincts, and divinations that some claim is true in a wide range of circumstances where that feeling isn’t born out by the facts. That is, humans are highly prone to have strong intuitions that are false. And the problem is that from the inside, when they are having the feelings, there’s just no way to confirm or disconfirm their authenticity by consulting those feelings alone. In too many cases, those feelings are overpowering, compelling, and veridical seeming, but then upon examination from the outside they are revealed to be wrong.

There might have been a time in history when we didn’t know so much about the human cognitive apparatus and no one would have been the wiser about their authenticity. But we’re in a different place now. You can’t ignore all of those mistaken cases, bogus paranormal visions, hallucinations, and false intuitions that we now know about. You can’t just ignore the lessons we should all learn from those and help yourself to the offerings of these compelling feelings in the course of our phenomenal lives. The world may look flat to the naked eye, and it sure looks like the sun is rising (instead of the earth’s turning) in the morning. But you know better, and you can’t go back. Once science and our analyses of paranormal and religious experiences are out of the bag, your being justified concerning those matters must take them into account. And once you do, any special claim to have knowledge on the basis of intuitive, subjective experience alone is undermined.

In order to be justified in believing the deliverances of these powerful feelings, one needs to be able to corroborate that indeed when I am having experience of a certain sort, it is authentic. We would need to be able to check and see if it’s correct. And we would need to be able to distinguish those subjective experiences from the ones that are just like it, but they are inauthentic.

So the red-phone theist has got two serious problems. Justification isn’t self-determined or autonomously corroborated. And until it is, they are not entitled to call those claims “knowledge.” What they may be entitled to say is “I have had some very powerful, very real seeming feelings that appeared to be tied to God. But it remains to be seen if it really was.” Futhermore, since truth is the other necessary condition of having knowledge, the red-phone theist is helping themselves to the conclusion that is precisely the point at issue—they’re begging the question. And surreptiously labelling these experiences as “intuitive knowledge” in an attempt to do an end run around the hard work of cross-checking, and justifying their belief doesn’t get them any closer to the conclusion than they were before. What they’ve got is a belief—and even that is debatable. Really what they’ve got is some powerful feelings, and they need to have the intellectual integrity and evaluate them carefully before deciding what’s reasonable to believe about them. Until they can make some legitimate claim to truth and justification, calling it “knowledge” is cheating. The atheist who isn’t scrupulous about these things, when she hears this “intuitive knowledge” claim, ought to just announce, “Well, I’ve got intuitive knowledge that your intuitive knowledge is mistaken—and no one gets to check that except me.”


Anonymous said...

You continue to avoid answering just how "knowledge of how" works professor. Intuitive knowledge is also accepted by biologists and psychologists. Your tirade is academically dishonest.

Anonymous said...

You continue to avoid answering just how "knowledge of how" works professor. Intuitive knowledge is also accepted by biologists and psychologists. Your tirade is academically dishonest.

Anonymous said...

"The atheist who isn’t scrupulous about these things, when she hears this “intuitive knowledge” claim, ought to just announce, “Well, I’ve got intuitive knowledge that your intuitive knowledge is mistaken—and no one gets to check that except me.”

Atheists can’t just say they have intuitive knowledge that the theist is wrong because that would be inconsistent. The atheist is supposed to rely on their reasoning and so cannot have intuitive knowledge to counter the theist. their is a difference in just saying an utterence and also believing in such

Sac state janitor

Matt McCormick said...

I'm not avoiding the question of knowledge how or knowledge by aquaintance. There's nothing there to address. Being able to distinguish between unicorns and gnomes doesn't entail that they exist. Having the ability to drive a car doesn't put one in the garage. Being aquainted with the ethereal and bizarre entities that one encounters on an LSD trip doesn't provide you with justification for thinking that they exist.

Your homework:

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to disable comments under the name "Anonymous"? I don't mind anonymous/pseudononymous comments, but when there are several in the same thread, it becomes difficult to know if we are dealing with one person or several.

Anonymous said...

Dear MM,

I have no idea what you just said. Are you sure you have a PHD?

How about addressing the fact that intutive knowledge exists before you start another tirade. that way we can eliminate you believing its nonsense or irrational as implied in your intial post.

Sac state janitor

Anonymous said...

RE: Bayesian Bouffant, FCD

how about you put your name up?

Samuel Skinner said...

Intuitive knowledge is NOT accepted- the fact of the matter is that for emperical claims only evidence is accepted.

"Atheists can’t just say they have intuitive knowledge that the theist is wrong because that would be inconsistent. The atheist is supposed to rely on their reasoning and so cannot have intuitive knowledge to counter the theist. their is a difference in just saying an utterence and also believing in such."

Not all atheists are rationalists. You are confusing the two. A rationalist is a person who uses reason and accepts. An atheist is one who lacks belief in God.

"I have no idea what you just said. Are you sure you have a PHD?

How about addressing the fact that intutive knowledge exists before you start another tirade. that way we can eliminate you believing its nonsense or irrational as implied in your intial post."

The mans ID is in his profile- upper left corner.

Intuition is based on experience which lead to gut feeling and common sense which is based upon innate mental rules that have been programed in by evolution.

There is nothing special about it and in fact intuition and common sense have often been proven wrong- they are time savers, not logical thinking and as such they are NOT infallible. When they conflict logic and reason, logic wins.

Samuel Skinner said...

His other blog is... well, just look. Dude, that is awesome!

Are you going to have it be a statue or are you going to make the thing mobile?

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, someone ought to define wtf they're talking abut when they even say intuition. Otherwise, we're all just going off some, shall I say, intuition about what intuition is. From the tone of it, I would say that anonymous is Carlos from earlier since he's going on the same thread about knowledge. There has been evidence, particularly by linguists, that we have innate knowledge when it comes to language. That might have to do with our evolutionary traits about associating sounds with sights and feelings and the environment (link). We ought to be clear, however, that is characteristically different from what we mean by intuiting some truth by the mere force of it.

To be specific, this is most used by the Platonist as exemplified in mathematical realism. Granted, some ethicists jump on it to, but then again, they seem to paint ethics in the sense mathematical realists do. The question then, if we want to be precise about what we're talking about, is are we talking about intuition applied to real truths about the external world we interact with, e.g., do I intuit knowledge of gravity? Would we call that kind of revelation knowledge proper? Or does intuition reside to mental constructs like mathematical or abstract ethical "entities"? Is there a correspondence or link between the two or are they categorically different and unrelated?

Furthermore, and this gets to Matt's topic about self-justification, does intuition provide any kind of information? I ask this because when I intuit something about a mathematical problem I'm not gaining new knowledge. I may not have been cognizant of the answer, or just had an idea about what the answer might have been, but the "result" of my intuition will always be built from information I do have. Like a deductive proof, the force of the truth comes from the information already provided in the premises or construction of the theory. A deductive proof does not give you something more than what you already had given the axioms as the truth comes under the interpretation of those axioms (or theory). Intuition in this sense, whether about the world or abstract things, seems to be in the same boat.

But if intuition does not provide any new information, then how can we call it knowledge? I think the self-justification is the important part here, and to refer to John Searle, it would be instructive to consider being specific about what kind of descriptions we are talking about. Particularly, we have rational agents capable of claiming to have obtained some knowledge, and facts about and in the world. Interactively, we also have facts in and about the person and what they have about the world (intentionality). Given these three elements, we have quite a complex interrelation between what Searle refers to as first-person ontology and third-person ontology. For an oversimplified generalization we can say subjective and objective.

Since our, to overuse the term some more, intuition about subjectivism and objectivism should be rather common (I have some old blogs about it here and here and I expand on it here; I will have a new one improving and summarizing those issues in the near future), we should be able to recognize some obvious facts:

(i) The self-justification relies solely on a subjectivist (or internalist) system of knowledge.
(ii) The intuition, if it applies anywhere and to anything, real or abstract, is in the mind of the beholder, so to speak, and is subjective proper.

The first fact can have self-justification, especially if it resides solely as a coherentist model, but then what does this have to do with third-person ontology? Absolutely nothing. By its construction it rejects it. The second fact binds intuition to being rather useless save for a self-justified framework. If someone wants to adopt that kind of framework then they have to accept that they also think the world is closed to a first-person ontology and that subjectivism makes the world.

If we reject these two facts as being plausible theories of knowledge, even to the slightest degree, then we get a flood gate of externalist requirements of how internalist or first-person ontological claims correspond to the world of which information resides (even if we say the mind is independent or isolated, it has to get information from somewhere). The one standard we should all respect is that of falsification and accuracy. Even if one has a subjective intuition about what the truth might be, does it correspond to correct "hits" with real events? Is it random? Guessing? Is there a pattern of success? Furthermore, does what one corresponds these self-made claims to have any chance of being falsified or are they somehow beyond the reach of evaluation? I may intuit or have some first-person experience of angels and gods, but what does that have to do with reality? Unless one adopts dualism now, then the brain has to be reducible or correspond in some fashion to the materialist features (Note, Searle rejects the reducibility of the mind, but I don't think he means, what I think that says, and will have to investigate his research further since it seems more to the fact any individual first-person ontology is not reducible, which is true, but we certainly do reduce minds to brains, and being clear about the difference of those two is critically important).

To close my tirade, we cannot simply dismiss the importance of first-person ontological experiences since they play a crucial role in everything, including empirical justification (how the hell do you think we get information about the world and construct theories and methods of evaluation to derive third-person claims?! They don't make themselves). We need to have a system that corresponds the two. Even given a complex system (as my third link about objectivism above gets into), we still don't just have intuition that corresponds or says anything about the world. It is purely subjective and certainly internal. Does it count as knowledge? Only inasmuch as a first-person ontology provides information about the rational agent and their relation to the world (it is here that I think a reduction is important to correspond it to facts sensible to objective measures). For instance, Amatrya Sen's "Positional Objectivity" or any form of perspectival objectivity links these two opposing concepts into how they do provide information about each other, which is also useful. The point being that self-justification can provide third-person information, and to the first-person, that perspective can be critically important to their perception of the world. Does it justify something about the world? No, and it doesn't intend to (but if someone says it does, then they are just wrong and need to justify that!)

The point of this was that we need to be clear about what role intuition plays. I have argued it does not play a role in the externalist account of the world we perceive because it adheres strictly to a first-person ontology. This does not mean it doesn't play a role to the person. It will play a role in self-justification, which I think Matt does dismiss too easily, but to be clear, he is right about that inasmuch as it does not project any information or claims specifically about the world; but then, it never should be seen to intend that fact. Where is important? I would say, to the very least, when we discuss intentionality and the role those and related concepts play in the broader area of philosophy, but that discussion wholly escapes this comment, which is over extended to begin!

If we are going to talk about intuition, then, I ask we define what we mean by it, what role it plays, how it plays that role and what it is specifying about the world or the person or if you even acknowledge a difference. If you do not, then I have already provided an argument otherwise you can then respond to as the critique will apply. For more on Searle's biological naturalism account, see his document on it (link).

Anonymous said...

looks like the last few atheists are blowhards. All that talking and no point other then "intution is stupid" mantra. Well Mr. skinner and Mr. goodyear tire please do some research before you speak on a topic you know nothing about

What is intuition?

A simple way of understanding intuition is to think of it as direct knowing; knowing without the use of reason or logic as we understand them.

Anonymous said...

A priori knowledge is intuitive knowledge. now dont you pseudo philosophers feel dumb!!

Sac state janitor

Anonymous said...

The link you provided describes it as, "a specific skill in consciousness used to access information, knowledge, and wisdom." This coincides to the fact I brought up that it is part of the first-person ontology (i.e., to consciousness). No one should dispute that fact. But look at precisely how they regard it (and I find them accurate on this, even though it is still a rather general account of intuition). It is a skill to access information. But unless we become dualists of some sort and adhere to a kind of "above and beyond" sort of consciousness, then this mental faculty, this cognitive skill, to access information requires that information already been borne out. They also go on to say, "Ideally, intuition is logic’s partner." Why is this? The goal is to make the best use of information and inference, however that is reasoned. It is not that intuition provides knowledge, but is a skill to access our already constructed inference, deductive or otherwise, to the conclusion. There's two things to be aware of:

(i) If we already have the information that ends up in the conclusion we intuit, then like I used analogous to deduction in my previous comment, there is nothing new added. The information is there, the intuition was nothing but the faculty of accessing it appropriately.
(ii) Intuition coincides to rational deliberation in that logic or reasoning is a conscious activity aware of the premise to the conclusion, to be general; whereas, intuition is unconscious.

Then is there anything fancy or mystical or special about this? It doesn't appear to be knowledge as we normally conceive of it (and neither does the website suggest that, in fact, they say it is different). It seems that it is an internal kind of activity which is only manifest to us in the conclusion. It is no different than conscious reasoning other than we don't get access to the antecedent information. If it is just "here's the conclusion" then where does justification come in? It is no different than any person rationalizing other than in this case it is only the conclusion. Rational inferences, arrived at knowingly or not, does not necessarily entail any kind of knowledge. There's no direct or necessary connection to reality (one can reason or intuit garbage--in fact, at least in reasoning we can identify if garbage is going on, intuition only throws it out). Furthermore, there is no direct or necessary requirement for it to be good reasoning on its own grounds since we have no way to deliberate it. All we can say is that it may or may not be accurate given future first-order information about its results. But even if that is the case, someone can have a completely random generator of "outcomes" that may get spot on for any given sequence or have a partially accurate model which just happens to get good hits, but we wouldn't say these models happen to capture what is going on. They would be "accidentally" correct. Gettier problem?

I appreciate the definition of intuition, but now I wonder how we can even call it knowledge. I mean, I would no more call that knowledge than I would call someone reasoning out some conclusion X to be knowledge. Even someone who reasoned well to some X may not necessarily just assent "X is knowledge." It seems all we have with intuition, in this way, is an identification of a mental faculty that is neither here nor there. If one can also intuit some conclusion, does that mean he cannot reason it? Be careful now, because some do make that claim, especially in mathematical realism or ethical intuition. In fact, the strong case of intuition is that it is specifically that which cannot be reasoned. If it could be reasoned, even if intuited, it is not intuition unless it is categorically unreasonable. Connotations aside, that is a strong requirement and makes it even more problematic. To note, these kinds of cases would be that moral knowledge is of the kind which cannot be reasoned (like the existence or whatever of certain mathematical entities), therefore it can only be intuited.

On that front, I ask what makes intuition knowledge if you, or anyone else, were to go that route? If it is not knowledge, then is it specifically disjoint from those kinds of inferences which can be done rationally or can it intermix? If it can be involved with rational deliberation, then what is special about intuition if we can just reason it out? In fact, it seems more the case that if we separate "aware" information from "unaware" information, then having more awareness of what we reason seems more important than having "unaware" information, which seems the kind intuition is, since we lack all antecedent information in that form, i.e., intuition only gives conclusions, reasoning gives the whole plater.

Anonymous said...

To follow-up on your last comment. What justification is there that anything is a priori knowledge, information or true? The usual arguments are that some things can be known by reason alone, but that is clearly different from intuition since one is reasoning that conclusion, i.e., they are aware of the antecedent and conclusion. But even if we grant that, the truth of any statement, any tautology, e.g., "all bachelors are unmarried," stems from the meaning of the terms. Where do the semantics come from? The denotation would be For all x, x=x, since part of the definition of the first is the latter. There wasn't even reasoning going on, it was just identification of the meaning. But then the meaning doesn't even need to exist in that statement. If we adopt that it does have meaning, then it had to come from somewhere. That meaning comes from experience, the world, for truth comes under an interpretation and for that statement to be cogent requires it to be modeled to something, say, the world. Then it is a posteriori. If we say it is true by the power of its "form" is to say it is true simply by denotation. It is true without meaning! But then it is merely indexical and does not say anything true in the sense of being about anything. It is only logically true. Then that itself is rather tautological to conclude "a priori knowledge is true by reason alone when it is only logically true" since that logical truth is a rational construct, and it seems to not be the kind of "knowledge" or "truth" we are even trying to capture or refer to when speaking of reasoning or intuition. Granted, some might contend that last point, but then I would say they are talking about something categorically different. In either case, it appears a priori is meaningless and one would need to show we can have any information (which carries meaning) in any other way than a posteriori.

Anyone want to try and show we have information, or meaning, a priori?

Anonymous said...

Uh ok bryan but it sounds like you are agreeing with the fact there is intutive knowledge but trying real hard to rename it (redefine it?).

Please read the link below. I think you will get it

The Powers and Perils of Intuition

Anonymous said...

"Anyone want to try and show we have information, or meaning, a priori?"

If I take my mop and lopped you upside the head would you KNOW it?

Sac state janitor

Matt McCormick said...

Look, it's entirely possible that when someone has some gut feeling that something is true, like some feeling that someone is gay, for example, but they just can't say why or really offer any explanation (this is what I mean by intuition), they are actually getting it right. I'm completely open to the possibility that in some cases when we have these feelings they are actually correct. Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink has a case of some grad students applying a heuristic in a lab who get very good--90% accurate--at predicting which couples will be divorced within 10 years, on the basis of a similar intuition.

But here's the deal. If you find yourself having some feelings like that, all that you can reasonably say from those feelings alone is that you're having the feelings. Whether or not the claim is actually true is another matter altogether. And whether or not your are justified in accepting the deliverances of these feelings is another matter to. You can't really insist that your gaydar gives you knowledge of who is gay and who isn't just on the basis of what the gaydar is telling you. Whether or not your gaydar works will depend on who is actually gay and who isn't. And whether or not you are justified in accepting it will depend, as Bryan has pointed out, on how successful it is. If your gaydar gets it correct less often or equally often to random chance, then I think we should conclude that it doesn't work and you are justified (even if it happens to be right in some particular cases). But if, upon investigation, your gaydar is right 90% of the time, then we'd be crazy not to allow that you should trust it and I think you'd be justified.

So suppose some intuitive theist announces that they have intuitive knowledge of God. Well, look--what we can agree upon perhaps is that the intuitive theist is having some experiences that feel--from their subjective perspective--like they are originating from God. And your gaydar was giving you very strong feelings like so and so is gay, too. But whether or not those experiences are really of God does not depend upon the experiences themselves. There can be no intrinsically, self-justifying experiences that have some mark of veridicality built into them. Even if the experiences have some kind of veridical feeling about them too, those are just more feelings that need to be checked against the world. So the truth is a separate matter, and the justification is going to be an externally confirmed matter too. The intuitive theist is being unreasonable if they think that these feelings are all that is required in order for them to have KNOWLEDGE. And again let me be very clear, I am not denying that people have experiences that feel like this or that they feel like God--for all I know, lots of people have them, and feel incredible and they feel very, very real, as if they couldn't possibly be coming from anything except God. But feelings are fallible--that's just the human condition. There is no escaping the prison, or the lens, or the fallibility of human consciousness to get to God directly. And checking truth and justification are going to be inter-subjective, public matters.


Oh yeah: and yes, Samuel, the R2 is going to be totally remote control with audio, lights, a spinning dome, and everything I can build into it. I made big progress on the feet and the legs this weekend. Thanks for noticing.

Anonymous said...

I just dont know Matt. I think your denying what is obviously a case of knowledge in your gaydar scenerio. How can a perosn have useful knowledge (gaydar info) and yet we call it non-knowledge? i really think your compalint is with the reliblity of intuivtive knowledge because it does not have logical contraints.

If a group of chimps are communicating information about a stalking predator arent they actually commnicating knowledge?

Anonymous said...

On questions which cannot be tested, there is really no way to achieve verifiable knowledge. Isn't the belief that there is no afterlife, or nothing supernatural (nothing outside what is known) also in the end an intuition, and deserves the same respect or lack of respect as the affirmative belief, albeit the negative belief is not subject to tests of logical consistancy (assuming we know which rules of logic to apply outside of this universe).

Anonymous said...

RE: Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
how about you put your name up?

How about if you read my first comment again and try to do it with improved comprehension?

Intuitive knowledge is also accepted by biologists and psychologists.

Do you happen to have any examples of that?

i really think your compalint is with the reliblity of intuivtive knowledge because it does not have logical contraints.

Also because of its poor track record.

Anonymous said...

C, you say

If a group of chimps are communicating information about a stalking predator arent they actually commnicating knowledge?

I think this exemplifies your problem with defining knowledge (which I already asked you to do). You seem to be suggesting that if two organisms can communicate any kind of information and even react on that information, then they have knowledge. Yet, we see bacteria which almost act in a binary fashion, will respond when their population gets big enough by "activating" to, say, cause a sickness or in prettier cases, become luminescent. I will try and find the video or link to some data later on this.

Would you say bacteria have knowledge? You're rather grasping at straws there. I use that as an extreme example, but we can take any animal and have similar results. When does this mere information or reacting to stimuli of the environment, communicated or not, become knowledge? Your standards of knowledge seem rather loose if you're going to say responding to stimuli, the communication of another organism about a predator, means that the thing then has knowledge of a predator! No wonder you would throw intuition, a mere faculty of assessing information, into being a thing of knowledge. It was precisely my point that none of that qualifies as knowledge. Furthermore, not even reason alone qualifies as knowledge. So if we give intuition some kind of status, it would be no different than conclusions reasoned out. But then it seems, to me, rather lacking in comparison anyway.

So to answer your questions, no, I did not redefine intuition whatsoever. I responded directly to the link you provided as defining it. And if I were hit with a broom I'd have a posteriori knowledge of it. I don't see what the point of stating that was.

Anonymous said...

I should add the caveat I'm not saying chimps are not ruled out as being capable of obtaining knowledge. My point was that you basically equivocated "communicating information about..." with "knowledge." How do you make that slight of hand? Even if we say they did communicate knowledge, that does not entail anything about the mere act of communicating specifying knowledge or converting mere information into knowledge. You might say that you've specified something rather precise by saying "about..." which would entail some kind of intentionality, which I find important to claim knowledge (but others may not). That begs the question, however, since it would be like saying they communicated knowledge therefore they communicated knowledge. If it depends on intentionality, or "aboutness," then where did that derive for the chimps to be able to talk about something or claim knowledge about that information?

This is why I said, specify what you mean by knowledge. What is it, precisely that you are trying to say? Otherwise, you're saying one thing and we're all saying that doesn't sound like what is generally meant by knowledge. I, for one, am not satisfied by the looseness which surrounds your use of the term, especially as a means to qualify your claim that intuition is knowledge.

Anonymous said...

re: Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said

I still don’t see a name. just a moniker. Why are you hiding?

intuition is not only accepted by psychologists and biologists but many mathematicians and philosophers. try Google or take a college course. try being a little self sufficient

Anonymous said...

Uh Bryan why do you ad nausum the same old tired line when people here have directed you to the definition of intuitive knowledge i.e. direct access knowledge? You even express acknowledging this in your own words in previous post and yet still try to argue. Are you dense or just really in denial?

You can disagree with the definition but you cannot say it hasn’t been established.

Anonymous said...

for the calculator brain guy just in case his battery runs low



Anonymous said...

sorry to the professor for spamming his blog but your mindless followers really need to get a clue about whats going on with the rest of the world

Controlled vs. Automatic Thinking and Behavior

Anonymous said...

Carlos, you still don't seem to understand a word I said in my post. Yes, you provided a link to a definition you assent to. I also explained how what they said established intuition as a faculty no different than reason. So now you have two things. Your claim that information, or communicating information, is knowledge and that merely obtaining a conclusion is knowledge. Do you assert that when one reasons to some conclusion their conclusion is knowledge or not? By what you have affirmed (see above) you seem to be forced to accept that or disaffirm intuition. But if you affirm merely reasoning to a conclusion is knowledge, then you're going to have to accept many queer results that whatever one reasons to is knowledge, like A→B, A, therefore B, and you can fill it in with anything you want and it is knowledge. You might say that I am avoiding the fact what fills these variables is important, that semantics is important, but I already showed above you neglect semantics altogether so I wont repeat myself again.

Anonymous said...

who the hell is carlos?

You sure like talking over people but your horrible aobut addressing others points.

refer to the links MR. verbose

Anonymous said...

P.S. barry goodrich

instead of your tired ad nauseum make believe bullshit conjecture, how aobut you challenge their assumptions? i read your post and am surprised to see nothing but hot air. How about making a point? try referring to implicit memory or automatic thinkng processes. hell even your lover boy professor even admits to intution existing. he just thinks theist arent justifed in using it to establish their faith.

i am begininng to think you have already been hit upside the head witha mop.

Anonymous said...

here ya go barney goodyrich...a scientist, a philosopher, and the guy who made the most expensive coffe maker

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.”

Albert Einstein

Intuition and concepts constitute... the elements of all our knowledge, so that neither concepts without an intuition in some way corresponding to them, nor intuition without concepts, can yield knowledge.

Immanuel Kant

Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.

Alan Turing

Anonymous said...

Hey billy here is another

All human knowledge thus begins with intuitions, proceeds thence to concepts, and ends with ideas.

Immanuel Kant

thats right! you got to listen to the german dude with the funny haircut!

Anonymous said...

It is sad when one's only argument reverts to argumentum ad hominem and appeal to authorities. I never said there is no intuition, nor disagree with your quotations; in fact, I use it quite often as a mathematician. The dispute is not the existence of this thing called intuition; it is about knowledge. Unless I am caricaturing the argument, it seems to follow as:

a concludes that p by a's intuition; therefore, a knows that p.

On the surface of it, this is an unjustified statement. You have not provided any support for how intuition entails knowledge nor how what one concludes by intuition is knowledge proper. Consider one can reason from some premises to a conclusion, i.e., P├C, but does this make C knowledge, too? Once again, how?

I think it rests on what you are suggesting knowledge is. You rely on defining "intuition is knowledge." Fine, unless you want to be absolutely vague or circular, how do you define knowledge to make this a substantial fact? Even if I grant you that intuition is direct knowledge (again, I affirm there is intuition, but it is not knowledge) then what is knowledge? Intuition is merely "direct access" to it? Okay, that still doesn't explain what knowledge is since my reasoning "indirect access" to it doesn't make my conclusions knowledge. It seems you have redefined knowledge without explicitly specifying it and expect us to buy into this rubbish. My point is that even if I grant you intuition as knowledge, it is not the I'm trying to redefine knowledge, I'm saying it doesn't coincide with what we might call knowledge. So how do you fix that problem? What is knowledge?

Eric Sotnak said...

Our anonymous friend quotes Kant, thus:

"All human knowledge thus begins with intuitions, proceeds thence to concepts, and ends with ideas."

Unfortunately this does not support our friend's claims regarding the epistemic status of intuition, as Kant is not using the term (g. Anschauung) in the same sense as that under discussion.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled slugfest.

Anonymous said...

Hey barney rubble,

How many fallacies are you gonna accuse me of? sounds like you are desperate. And whats wrong with appealing to authorities? when did that become bad? dont you appeal to
some authority in your thinkng???

You do realise that not all the stimuli that enteres your brian gets treated by higher cognitition? the flight or fight reponse is such am example. the signal goes to the amglya which has no idea WTF logic or reasoning is. you just cant resolve your position which says only humans can have knowledge becasue we just can. while the information in the chimps communication is invaluable.

You also failed to address the nueroscience link or the psychology today article that shows the widely acceptence of intution as knowledge ie implicit memory, automatic thinking...

Listen barney, your stuff is so very tired. you back step, attempt to redefine what you said and conclude that you were always right. ist quite annoying

RE: Eric

you make no sense friend. you are disagreeing with the translation. your comment is irrelevent in that matter.

try disagreeing with kant rather than saying he didnt mean what he said.
because kant did in fact meant what he said

space and time
Kant gives two expositions of space and time: metaphysical and transcendental. The metaphysical expositions of space and time are concerned with clarifying how those intuitions are known independently of experience. The transcendental expositions attempt to show how the metaphysical conclusions might be applied to enrich our understanding.

Tom said...

Recently I had a strong religious experience and I obtained a glimpse into the Ultimate Reality. It turns out that theism is false.

Anonymous said...

here is some more good stuff barney,

Intuitive knowledge is the irresistable and indubitable perception of the agreement of any two ideas without the mediation of any other. This is the clearest and most perfectly certain of all degrees of human knowledge. It accounts for our assent to self-evident truths and serves as the foundation up-on which all other genuine knowledge must be established. [Essay IV ii 1] Intuition is most common in our knowledge of identity and relation among clear ideas, but (following Descartes) Locke also supposed that each thinking being has an intuitive knowledge of its own existence. [Essay IV ix 3]

Anonymous said...

Cool tom! are you sincere in your disposition or are you just merely saying X is false?

For example i can say tom does not exists or that sqaure circles do exists but niether proposition i actually believe to be true. thus i have not offered a rebuttal but am merely poking fun...

please be honest here sir.

Anonymous said...

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

~ Albert Einstein

Oh no i am appealing to an authority again! Spank me! I am so very bad to appeal to authorities...

Anonymous said...

I don't know where you get that I've "back stepped" and redefined anything. I think I've clearly just asked you to define it and show the relation to intuition, just like anyone who defines a system of knowledge relates it to our rational faculties, perceptual faculties, etc. As for appeals to authorities, they do not make an argument for you. Appealing to a scholar's work, concepts, proofs, reasoning, etc. comes as an adequate, or proper, appeal to that "authority." You have not done that, you simply say "he says it and therefore he's smart so it must be true." It's the tired trick Christians are seen doing by saying "all these scientists believe in God, therefore God is rationally justified." It's a "WTF?!" move.

In regard to the unconscious processes going on, they come as providing information, or bringing information "to the surface." This does not entail the communication of chimps is invaluable. The question is whether or not it is knowledge. Do you seriously not see the difference?

Look at it this way, even if we say the unconscious processing of information to some conclusion is a "hit", how do we know? That requires us to check it against the world. I may have an intuition that the solution to my math problem is X, but I don't know that it was even correct until I have proven X. It makes, to stretch the word, the intuition an epiphenomenon of this conclusion since to derive the truth of X I couldn't depend on intuition alone. If we don't have to prove X, then it comes out that our intuition may be correct, but is now epistemically inaccessible! What a queer result. The solution you, and non-cognitivist that believe intuition equates to knowledge, provide? "It just is knowledge." Really? Prove it. What's your justification for that claim beyond stating it axiomatically as if it's just a basic belief we all need to accept. You might as well say "God is right and beyond qualification, you just need to accept it." To be blunt, that kind of belief system is just retarded, and it is completely unconvincing to say we're wrong and have no justification to not accept this "dee dee dee" belief.

To be even more painfully clear, you equate intuition to knowledge, yet leave knowledge undefined. Until you can adequately define knowledge and show it fits in with your definition of intuition, you've basically said x=y, but haven't even stated wtf y is. Even if we say x is a valid statement to make in the system, you still have to prove y is, and that, in fact, x does equal y.

So I'll ask again and will not respond to you until you can further this trite discussion by answering. What is your definition or conception of knowledge and how does it equate to intuition as you have defined it?

If you go the chimp route and say intuition is just unconscious, biological, processing of information, then how does that equal knowledge? That would be the next step you need to take as that will be my first response regardless of what you say knowledge is. If it falls out of your answer to the first question, all the better. And note, I don't care that for some reason you can't contain yourself from throwing around insults needlessly in almost every one of your comments, but if we're all going to be intellectually honest, then man up and provide an argument like a rational human being and quite relying on your ad hominem approach (i.e., making your insult the argument). Otherwise, I can only conclude you're not a rational human being capable of such discourse and no one here will continue to play your childish games.

Anonymous said...

> How about if you read my first comment again and try to do it with improved comprehension?

>> I still don’t see a name. just a moniker. Why are you hiding?

Your comprehension is still poor.

> Do you happen to have any examples of that?

>> intuition is not only accepted by psychologists and biologists but many mathematicians and philosophers. try Google or take a college course. try being a little self sufficient

Apparently you don't understand what an "example" is.

Prof. McCormick, I think it's time to give banning a try.

Anonymous said...

Hey bayesian buffoon thanks for saying nothing

thanks for playing

come again

Anonymous said...

hey barry goodfella,

are there other types of knowledge or is there just one type for you?

Anonymous said...

After reading through this hefty thread, I feel obligated to commend the good Dr. Anonymous on his argument for intuition as direct knowledge of the Universe. It is truly breath-taking to behold. I've been reading this blog off and on for a while now, and I must say, this truly is the most spectacular defense for the belief in the existence of God I have ever had the privilege to behold.

I first must congratulate you on your simply dynamite research. You've actually managed to find an organization of people that consider intuition to be direct knowledge. Astonishing! And because of this, therefore, you have conclusively proven that intuition is direct knowledge. And in following your example, I too have made a discovery of earth-shattering proportions that I would like to share with you.

I found an organization that believes the works of Tycho Brahe, a 16th Century Danish Nobleman, are true and that the Earth is, in fact, the center of the Universe. And because I have the awe-inspiring power to post a link to their their website, enabling you all to peruse the fabulous "Tycho Brahe Geocentricity Shop," Geocentricity, the thesis that the Sun revolves around the Earth, is true.

Next, let's move on to your stellar use of quotations. It seems you've discovered the lynch-pin in winning this argument: Googling famous people who have talked about intuition before. Good God Man, what a find! And it doesn't even matter if the quotations even have even the most minuscule modicum of relevance whatsoever: So long as they say "Intuition," your point is proven. Again following in your footsteps, I too have made a discovery of my own from a quotation I read when I was in 10th Grade:

"God does not Play Dice"

-Albert Einstein

Ergo, Gambling is Immoral. Man, taking unrelated authors' words out of context really relieves all the heavy lifting of making a coherent point. You and me should run for office some day.

Next, we'll take a brief interlude since I'm fairly certain you've stopped reading this and are currently looking for some Oppenheimer quotes expounding how much of an Asshole I am (A Claim I wouldn't DREAM of refuting. Ask anyone. I'm a colossal dick.) While we wait, I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about Bacon. Mmmmm Bacon. Gosh it's good. Thank God for Bacon.

Continuing on...

As if your Googling of quotations wasn't inspired enough, you've also taken the time out of studying for your Introduction to Psychology course to thoughtfully include some random articles with the word "Intuition" in them that you Googled as well. How Gracious! Never mind the fact that none of them had anything to do with the topic at hand. A cursory glance at the actual content of the articles would have been sufficient to tell you that. The one on Math is about what is taken as proof of the possibility of certain mathematical constructs, the Neuroscience link involved the means by which we develop and enact our intuition, and the "Psychology Today" article, while closer, really only focuses on our intuition's ability to read social ques with a fair degree of accuracy, not uncover direct knowledge of deep metaphysical truths. What's important here is that they had the word "Intuition" in the title, and in an argument about the justification for a belief in the existence of a Supreme Being, that's all that counts.

While your argument may be bordering on infallible, there is one correction I feel compelled to proffer up. You said, and I quote:

"Uh Bryan why do you ad nausum the same old tired line when people"

Ad Nauseum is not a verb. Never has been. Never will be. It is an adverb modifying how something is done. So if I were to say "You incorrectly use the word 'Ad Nauseum' ad nauseum," I would be grammatically correct. Later, you used it as an adjective:

"instead of your tired ad nauseum make believe bullshit conjecture, how aobut..."

Its close, a good effort, and worthy of commendation, but still not quite correct. But don't worry Sport, You'll get `em next time.

You Truly are an astonishing Academic. I, and I'm sure I can speak for all of my fellow theists, am delighted that you have stepped up to be our spokesperson. I can think of no finer mind to defend the intricacies of our belief in God than you sir.



Anonymous said...

TO alexandria,

wut an incredible waste of space your post was

How about your opinion on inutuitve knowledge?

You say you are a theist. please describe your faith or reason for your belief in god...

Barry is that you???

Anonymous said...

Com'on barry just us your two cents. No blabbing about your own interpretations

and your girlfriend alexandira can throw in her opinion if she has one

PLEASE TYPE IN GOOGLE "intution and nueroscience"



Anonymous said...

ok i just cant wait for barry goodwater and his girlfriend to do their own searching...lil ole me Mr. acedemically challenged bringing out the acedemic citations for intuitive knowledge

barry and alexia

Intuition: A Social Cognitive Neuroscience Approach Matthew D. Lieberman Harvard University This review proposes that implicit learning processes are the cognitive substrate of social intuition. This hypothesis is supported by (a) the conceptual correspondence between implicit learning and social intuition (nonverbal communication) and (b) a review of relevant neuropsychological (Huntington's and Parkinson's disease), neuroimaging, neurophysiological, and neuroanatomical data. It is concluded that the caudate and putamen, in the basal ganglia, are central components of both intuition and implicit learning, supporting the proposed relationship. Parallel, but distinct, processes of judgment and action are demonstrated at each of the social, cognitive, and neural levels of analysis. Additionally, explicit attempts to learn a sequence can interfere with implicit learning. The possible relevance of the computations of the basal ganglia to emotional appraisal, automatic evaluation, script processing, and decision making are discussed.

Knowing before we know: Conscious versus preconscious top–down processing and a neuroscience of intuition

S.J. Segalowitza,

aBrock University, Department of Psychology, St. Catharines, Ont., Canada L2S 3A1

Intuition: a social cognitive neuroscience approach.Lieberman MD.
Department of Psychology, Harvard University, USA.

intuition, neuroscience, decision making and learningEugene Sadler-SmithCentre for Management Learning and Development, School of Management, University of Surrey, UK. Personal Reflections Written Following the Meeting of the Society for Organizational Learning-UK at the London School of Economics, June 23

Anonymous said...

Great read by Mr. king atheist bertrand russell. Brilliant man!

On intutive knowledge

it is so sad that people like billy goofpoop think they can spew conjecture rather than appeal to people, studies, and things!

----------->>> philosophers w/ out science ought to walk the plank

Anonymous said...

I still do not see you making any sense. I told you that intuitive knowledge is nonsense because you cannot justify its course of action. Thus intuition exists but only when a person has direct access to an object. Only then are they justifed in having intuitive knowledge. So it just doesn't make sense. Get it?

Anonymous said...


that was awesome, seriously. You should come over to my blog (see link from my name), we could use someone with your wit to liven things up a bit. Note, there's lots of atheist discussions on Xanga, not that I'm pitching here! I also direct them to this blog.